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25th AUGUST 1933


extracted and adapted from the report by

E. Woodhouse Lieut Colonel 

An accident, took place at about 8.47 am. on April 25th: at Victoria Station, London, on the Southern Railway. The 7.40 a.m.electric train from Brighton, entering under clear signals collided with the spring buffer stops of No. 14 platform. The train was well filled and many of the passengers were preparing to alight; 78 complained of injury of shock and a Pullman car conductor and the guard of the train were slightly injured in addition. The injuries were of a minor nature in most cases; 13 passengers received treatment at St. George’s Hospital, one being detained there, whole a number received first aid from, the station staff. Ambulances were available promptly, this first reaching the station about 15 minutes after the accident; five doctors from St. George's Hospital arrived at the station at 9..20a.m.

The train consisted of 12 bogie vehicles, namely, two of the 6-coach sets put into service at the beginning of the present year for the express electric service between London and Brighton. Its length was about 266 yards and its unladen weight about 532 tons. The formation of each set was the same, namely, a motor 3rd brake, a corridor composite, a Pullman car, a corridor composite, a corridor 3rd, and a motor 3rd brake, in the order named from front to rear. The motor 3rd brakes were of all-steel construction, weighing 59 tons unladen, with seating arranged as an open saloon: the Pullman cars were also of all-steel construction, weighing 43 tons. The remaining vehicles of the train had steel under frames, their bodies having timber framing with steal panelling, and weighed 35 tons each, unladen.

The train was fitted with the Westinghouse brake, working blocks on all wheels. The percentage of brake effort to, tare weight was 83 per cent. on the four motor coaches, 73 per cent. on the two Pullman cars, and 75.2 per cent. on the six remaining vehicles, be higher percentage on the motor coaches being provided to counteract the considerable momentum of the armatures of the motors. The triple valves of the Westinghouse brake were of the bulb trpe which is designed to secure the quickest possible response of each triple valve to reductions of pressure in the train pipe, made by the motorman in service applications.

Screw coupling and side buffers, the latter of a heavy shock absorbing type, were in use throughout the train. The draw and buffing gear was undamaged by the collision.

The structural damage to the roiling stock was trifling and the train was able to move away under its own power. But in several of the coaches electric light globes, fixed above the seats, and the glasses covering views, were broken, and six of the corridor sliding doors were shaken off their runners. The four all steel motor coaches were undamaged. 

The buffer stops at the end of No. 14 platform were of the bent rail type, with a timber beam carrying twos spring buffers of the ordinary pattern. These were not damaged, nor was the buffer stop moved by the impact, but the wooden beam was splintered at the ends. There was no derailment or damage to the permanent way.

The weather was fine, but the rails near the buffer stops were slightly greasey


2. From Grosvenor Bridge, over the Thames. the line falls continuously to the buffer stops of No. 14 platform at, Victoria Station, the gradients, and their approximate lengths being :-

1 in 64 = 700 yards, 1 in 268 =310 yards, 1 in 4,333 = 220 yards

No.14 platform is crossed by Eccleston Bridge and by Elizabeth Bridge; Victoria North signal box is on this platform, between these two bridges. Relevant distances, measured from the buffer stops, are approximately as follows:- 

Eccleston Bridge = 190 yards, Victoria North Signal box = 253, Elizabeth’ Bridge = 403, Outer end of No. 14 platform = 420, Commencement of 1 in 64 gradient on Grosvenor Bridge = 1,230 

Report and Evidence

3. The train, which had been stabled at Brighton overnight, had not been in service on the day of the accident prior to its departure at 7.40 a.m. It made two booked stops,  at Haywards Heath and at East Croydon, on the journey to London, the average booked speed of which, excluding stops, was 47.7 miles an hour.  It left Brighton punctually and reached Victoria about 1 1/2 minutes late owing to signal checks and speed restriction at Streatham. An unusual  feature of the accident was that although the train appears to have entered the station at normal speed, and the impact between the leading motor and the buffer stops was not severe, there was a violent rebound of the three coaches at the rear of the train, in which, many of thpassengers who were injured were travelling; the brakes of these three coaches were found to be off immediately after the accident.

Evidence on these points was given by’ shunter (acting station foreman) Ealey who was on the platform opposite the point, at which the train would ithe normal course, have been divided into two six-coach sets; and by examiner Woolford, who was on the ballast and opposite the rear coach when the train came to a stand. Neither of these men could recollect whether the brakes were applied when the train passed them, but both were certain that its speed was normal. Woolford said that the rear coach rebounded rather violently, he thought for about a foot, and that he quite expected to find that the couplings had parted with the shock. He examined the brakes immediately and found that they were off on the last three coaches but applied on the remaining nine. He did not notice the notice the sound of escaping air, indicating that the brakes were releasing, as the ,train passed him.

4. .Guard Saunders said that when he came on duty at Brighton at 7:l0 a.m. he walked along the train and saw that the brake pipes were properly connected and that the brake valve isolating cock in the motorman’s compartment on the rear coach was closed. He then tested the brake in the prescribed manner from the rear end of the train, reducing the pressure in the train pipe to 30 lbs. on the gauge, and seeing that it subsequently returned to 70 lbs. He noticed nothing unusual in the action of the brake on the journey; the train came to a stand at the usual Place at Haywards Heath and at East Croydon. He noticed a brake application as the train was crossing Grosvenor Bridge the reduction in train pipe pressure being about 10 lbs. per square inch, and stated that the train ran down the gradient to the station at a speed which he estimated at not more than 15 miles an hour. He was certain that the brake was not released between Grosvenor Bridge the entrants to the station and thought that the speed had been reduced to seven or eight miles an hour by the time the rear of the train passed the end of the platform. He was writing up his journal as the train ran the length of the platform and did not notice whether the brake was released, but, was sure that no violent application of it was made. He was rising from his seat the train came to a stand and was thrown forcibly backwards and slightly injured. He said that hdid not notice whether there was any rebound, but was certain that he fell towards the partition separating his van from the motorman’s compartment, that is to say, towards the rear of the train.

5. The motorman W. Coughtrey, had assured himself, when he came on duty, that all was in order in the three unoccupied driving compartments, and that the brake valve isolating cocks there were closed. He said that before leaving Brighton the main reservoirs and train pipe were charged to the prescribed pressure, namely 100 and 70 Ibs. per, square inch respectively, and that when making the first stop, at Haywards Heath, the brakes acted normally but that at East Croydon he overshot the platform by a yard or two, as the rails were greasy, and there was a slight drizzle. He used the brake to check his speed when passing Clapham Junction and again at Pouparts Junction. His next application of the brake was on Grosvenor Bridge, but with regard to his subsequent actions, Coughtrey said that he wished to amend the statement which he had made to the Company’s officers on the afternoon of the accident.

He informed me that he followed his usual practice on the day of the accident, that is to say, he ran gently down the gradient from Grosvenor Bridge with the brakes applied, entering the platform at a speed which he estimated as about five miles an hour, though he did not see the indication of the speedometer in the driving compartment. He said that on reaching the end of the platform he released the brakes and made a second application at Elizabeth Bridge, followed by a number of light applications until he had passed Eccleston Bridge. During these successive applications he was sure that he never put the brake valve in the Release or in the Lap position. He thought that he was about three coach lengths from the buffer stops when he finished making these light applications, which caused a reduction of about 30 lbs, in all in the train pipe pressure, and that the wheels of the leading motor coach then " picked up." There is no sanding gear on the motor coaches. He still thought that the train would stop clear of the buffer stops as it was travelling very slowly, and he accordingly made no further brake application. The impact was not so severe as to throw him off his seat. He closed the brake valve isolating cock as soon as the train stopped, in accordance with his usual custom.

6. Mr. A. E. Roberts, Electric Rolling Stock Engineer, said that Coughtrey had given a different account of his handling of the brake when taken over the round by him shortly after the accident, and at the Company’s inquiry. He had then stated that after originally applying the brake at Grosvenor Bridge, releasing it at the platform ramp, and almost immediately re-applying it, he realised that he was going to stop too soon. He therefore released the brake again near Victoria North signal box and allowed the train to run with the brakes off until about three coach lengths from the buffer stops, where he m d e two final applications which caused the wheels to pick up. These two applications reduced the train pipe pressure by about 30 Ibs. but no emergency application was made.

In explanation of this, Coughtrey informed me that he had revised his opinion of what actually occurred as he had taken more careful notice, since the accident, of his practice when entering the station.

7. Coughtrey said that he was well accustomed to the use of the Westinghouse brake on steam trains, as he was formerly an L.B. & S.C. driver, and agreed that there was no practical difference between the manipulation of the brake valves on electric and on steam trains. Since the Brighton electrification was opened in January last he had been employed as a motorman, but had only made about 18 double journeys on 12 coach trains. He explained that greater care was necessary in handling the brake on the 12-coach expresses than on the four- coach and eight coach stopping trains, to which he was more accustomed, and said he thought that the wheels of the electric stock are more liable to “pick up," than those of steam stock, unless the brake is carefully handled.

8. Foreman Motorman Stedman, who was on the platform as the train came in, agreed that its speed was normal. He saw that the gauge in the driver’s compartment was registering a train pipe pressure of 50 lbs. per square inch shortly, after the accident, and that the brake valve isolating cock had been closed. He said that he had heard no complaints of the action of the Westinghouse brake as the new electric trains, or that it is less easy to handle than that on the steam’ trains, or than the vacuum brake, but that from his own experience he knew that more accurate judgment was needed to handle the 12 coach expresses properly than is the case with the shorter suburban trains, or the 8 coach Brighton stopping trains. He also stated that on the Central section of the line the motormen’s regular duties entail changing round, during the day between trains of varying make-up, varying in length from 3 to 12 coach.

9. Ticket collector Elliott, who was at the barrier close to the buffer stops, said that he heard two separate applications of the brake when tho train was near to them. Hwas positive that the train was going no faster than walking pace at the time. 

He was able to identify clearly the position of the leading end of the train when he heard each of these brake applications, with reference to a lever shelter on the Platform and to ‘a fouling bar on the track,’which he afterwards pointed out to me.’ From this it appeared that these applications were made when the train was at a distances of about 25 and 13 yards from the buffer stops. Elliott thought that the train was about 7 yards from the stops when the wheels of the leading coach picked up.

10. The braking arrangements of the train were examined, after it had travelled under its own power to the Selhurst depot, by Mr. Fox, the Electrical Department Brake Inspector. He said that he found nothing amiss with the brakes and that the stroke of the brake cylinders was normal. He also dismantled the motorman’s brake valve that had been in use on the journey ‘from Brighton and the piping in them motorman’s compartment; the valve was in perfect condition and there were no obstructions, such as fragments of jointing material, in the pipes which might have temporarily affected brake operation. Mr. Fox emphasised the need for manipulating the motorman’s brake valve with some deliberation, particularly, on a long train, in order that the changes of pressure so caused in the..train pipe may have time to penetrate to the rear vehicles.

He thought that if motorman Coughtrey had handled the brake in the manner described in the statement which, he made at my Inquiry, it was possible that the short period during which it was released at the entrance to the station was insufficient for the auxiliary reservoirs on the three rear coaches to recharge the pressure in them would thus remain at the figure to which it had fallen during the previous brake application. The triple valves on these vehicles would then not move to the application position and the brakes on them would accordingly be inoperative, until the train pipe pressure had fallen, as a result of subsequent applications from the front of the train, below that remaining in the auxiliary reservoirs. But, on the leading vehicles the auxiliary reservoirs might have been partly if not fully, recharged during the short release period, and hence their, brakes would respond to smaller reductions in train pipe pressure, thus giving rise to the conditions observed after the accident, that is to say; the application of the brakes at the front but not at the rear of the train.

11. In order to ascertain the time needed for a brake application to become effective at the rear of a 12-coach train the Company arranged, at my request, to make some tests at the Selhurst depot, which I attended on May4th. Two 6 coach sets similar to those concerned in the accident, were used; their brake had received no equipment had received no special attention. They were placed on two adjacent sidings with their brake pipes connected across the intervening space at one end, thus bringing what was virtually the rear of the train alongside the operative motorman’s compartent for convenience of observation. The main reservoir and train pipe pressures were in accordance with the Company’s regulations for electric stock namely 100 and 70 pounds per squarinch respectively.

First Test.

It was found that with a train pipe pressure reduction of 10 lbs. per square inch, 5 seconds elapsed before brake application on the rear vehicle commenced. When released aft& this, application, the blocks on the rear vehicle gripped the wheels fo9 3/5 seconds after the brake valve was placed in the release position.

Second Testpage4image926308736

With a 21 lb. reduction of train pipe pressure, brake application on the rear vehicle was more speedy, commencing in 4 1/5 seconds release was slower however, the blocks taking 14 1/5 seconds to 1eave the wheels of the rear coach.

Third Test

Three experiments were made to ascertain how many short applications, each of about second; were necessary before the brakes of the rear coach responded this method of handling the brake valve being termed “ chopping” by the men the brake valve was returned to theLap position after each short application. It was found that in the respective experiments 3,7, and 5 such applications were needed before the brakes on the rear vehicle were actuated

Fourth Test.

Attempts were next made to reproduce the conditions of the accident, that is to say to apply the brakes on the first 9 vehicles and not on the last 3, by manipulating the brake valve in the manner described by motorman Coughtrey in his amended statement. After applications with 10 to 12 lbs. reduction in train pipe pressure lasting for about l 1/2 minutes, corresponding to the time taken to run from Grosvenor Bridge to the entrance to the station, the brake valve was placed in the Release position for 10 to 15 seconds. During the ensuing 30 to 40 seconds several slight applications were made, without moving the handle back to the Lap position, with resultant total reductions of from 25 to 30 lbs. in the train pipe pressure. In all cases the brakes were found to be applied throughout the train at the conclusion of the tests.

Fifth Test

A further test was then made to reproduce as far as possible the manner of handling the brake valve described by motorman Coughtrey at the Company's investigation of the accident. The original application and release were made as in, the fourth series of tests, and the brake was then applied Again, with 10 Ibs. reduction of train pipe pressure, for 20 seconds, representing the run from the entrance to the station up to Victoria North signal box. The bnake vdve handle was then moved to Release for 20 seconds, after which two short applications, each of about a second, were made. It was found after this that the brake was applied on the first 6 vehicles of the train, but not on the last 6; another short application applied the brakes on the 7th and 8th coaches, and a further one, rather more lengthy, applied it on the remaining 4 vehicles of the train. It was also found that in releasing the biake .after &is test the triple valves on the 12th vehicle reversed 6 seconds after the brake valve was placed in the Release position ; the blocks on this each did not have the wheels until a further 9 seconds had elapsed, or 15 seconds in all after the brake valve was operated.

Subsequent to these tests at Selhurst, I asked Ticket Collector Elliott to demonstrate to me to the best of his ability, by working the motorman’s brake valve himself, the length of the two applications which he heard as the train approached the buffer stops. The duration of these applications appeared to be from 1 to 1 1/2 seconds.


12. It is clear from the evidence that the speed at which the train entered the station and approached the buffer stops was not excessive, though in this connection the motorman’s estimate that his speed was only 5 miles an hour at the platform ramp it is obviously faulty; the platform is nearly a quarter of a mile long and at such a speed a train would take 3 minutes to reach its inner cab.

I feel that more reliance can be placed upon the statement made by motorman Coughtrey at the Company’s investigation than upon the amended account of his actions given in the course of my Inquiry. The evidence of ticket collector Elliott, a very good witness, regarding the two short brake applications made at the last moment and the results of the of the brake equipment at Selhurst, taken in conjunction with the evidence regarding the rebound and lack of brake application on the rear three coaches, all lead me to take this view. I also think it likely that if these final brake application had not been of such short duration, or even if an emergency application had been made at the last moment, despite the picking-up of the wheels of the leading coach, the brakes would have been applied throughout the train and the rebound would not have occurred, while the impact with  the buffer stops might have been lessened, if not actually avoided. Therefore I am of opinion that the accident was due to errors of judgment on the part of motorman Coughtrey, not only in delaying the final applications until thtrain was too close to the buffer stops, but also in the manner in which these applications were made, and that responsibility for it rests with him alone. He has 40 years service with the Company, and had..been a motorman for 4 months at the time of the accident, but has  27 years’ experience as a driver his record is good.

I think it is possible that his failure was chiefly due to lack of experience in handling the 12-coach expresses, and since I feel at more deliberate handling of the brake valve would probably have prevented the accident, it is, I think, desirable that the Company should specially draw the attention of motormen to the need for this. While no reasonable objection can be taken to the practice of, frequently transferring motormen between long and short trains, the appropriateness of some such reminder as I have outlined is obvious in view of the fact that on the shorter trains the brakes can be handled, without untoward effects, in a manner that is inadmissible on the longer ones, on which the response to the, motorman’s actions is slower, whereas no harm is likely to arise from handling the brake with deliberation on the shorter trains.


13. Though the failure of the brake to operate uniformly throughout the train in this case was apparently due to faulty handling, the fact that such a possibility exists with the form of Westinghouse air brake equipment ordinarily in use, in this country calls for comment. This type of automatic brake has nearly disappeared from steam trains here, consequent upon the decision to adopt the vacuum brake as a standard for them when amalgamation took place ten years ago, but it is almost universalIy employed on electric stock the control which can conveniently be operated pneumatically; its use is therefore likely to increase as railway electrification progresses. In its essential features the air brake equipment in use on electric stock on surface lines is similar to that used on steam hauled stock, and while the general principles of its operation are well known, reference may be made to certain details.

An approach is made to simultaneous operation of the triple valves throughout the train in service applications by the adoption of the improved, or bulb, triple valve, which incorporates a chamber of suitable capacity with which the train pipe is connected when application commences, the local reductions in train pipe pressure so caused resulting in a more rapid response of the triple valves than would otherwise be the case.

With the equipment normally fitted, release of the brake after an application, that is to say, the time taken to discharge the air from the brake cylinder, is out of the driver's control, being predetermined by the size of the throttling nipple in the triple valve exhaust. Thus a graduated release, controlled by the driver, cannot be made, and, after a release full brake power cannot be exerted in a subsequent application until the auxiliary reservoirs have been recharged. In both of these features the air brake differsfrom the vacuum which, though slower than the air brake in its response to the driver’s actions, does not dissipate the energy stored on the vehicles in the processes of application and of release; its release can also be graduated at will by the driver.

14. The rate at which the auxiliary reservoirs recharge is designedly rather slow, in order that those at the front and rear of a train may be replenished simultaneously; were this not the case, unformity of brake action would be prejudiced. This is due to the fact that in a service application the triple valve does not close the communication between the auxiliary reservoir and the brake cylinder until the reservoir pressure has fallen slightly below that to which the air in the train pipe has been reduced; since the capacity of the auxiliary reservoir is proportional to that of the brake cylinder supplied from it, the force with which the brake is applied is thus related to the reduction in train pipe pressure, and dissimilarity in auxiliary reservoir pressures, caused by unequal recharging would therefore cause a lack of uniformity in braking. Restriction of the area of the feed groove in the triple valve, through which recharging of the auxiliary reservoir takes place, is also necessary for another purpose, for if it were enlarged the response of the triple valve to light applications would be rendered less sensitive.

It will be seen, too, that as the capacity of the auxiliary reservoir must be proportional to that of the brake cylinder, in order that control over the force with which the hake is applied may be maintained, an increase of auxiliary reservoir capacity as a means of obtaining a full power application immediately after a release, and before recharging is completed, is impracticable. In practice, however, a compromise is made, for the tripIe valve exhaust is throttled so that recharge of the auxiliary reservoirs is in progress before the discharge of air from the brake cylinders is completed.

The main difference between the equipment on steam trains and that on multiple unit electric stock is that whereas on the former the main reservoir, from which air for recharging the auxiliary reservoirs is supplied, is on the engine, on the latter there is a smaller main reservoir on each motor coach, feeding into a main reservoir pipe extending throughout the train. To some extent this tends to extend the operation of recharging, on account of the distance separating the main reservoirs in the rear part of the train from the motorman’s brake valve, through which the air has to pass on its way to the train pipe and the auxiliary reservoirs.

15. So far as the Southern Railway is concerned, the arrangement of the motorman's brake valve on electric stock differs from that of the driver's valve on a steam locomotive, which has separate Release and Running positions; in the former position the main reservoir is connected directly with the train pipe through a comparatively large port, while in the latter the only communication between main reservoir and train pipe is through the restricted orifice of a feed valve, which is in effect a reducing valve set to maintain the appropriate train pipe pressure. Thus, by placing the driver’s valve in the Release position the auxiliary reservoirs can be recharged as rapidly as the triple valve grooves permit, while train pipe leakage is made good through the feed valve when the driver’s valve is in the Running position.

In the Southern Railway motorman’s valve the Release and Running potions are combined it is true that an improved type of feed valve is used, through which air from the main reservoir pipe, fed by the main reservoirs on each motor coach in the train, passes comparatively rapidly to the train pipe, both to recharge the auxiliary reservoirs and to make up for leaks after they are recharged, but this arrangement appears likely to retard the recharging process to some extent in comparison with the larger Release passage and with the proximity of the main reservoir to the driver’s valve on steam train equipment. understand that  this motorman's valve arrangement has always been used on the Southern Railway, and was previously employed on the London and South Western electric stock the reason for its introduction being that it was found that there was a tendency for the motormen to leave  the brake valve in the Release position for too long a period, with the result that the auxiliary reservoirs became charged to main reservoir pressure-100 lbs. in place of  70 lbs. per square inch; this over charging gave rise to violent brake application, with consequent complaints, and to delay in subsequent release.

The makers of the brake equipment, the Westinghouse Brake and Saxby Signal Company, have informed me that this arrangement of motorman's valve has only been adopted on the Southern Railway, and in six sets of equipment supplied to the late Metropolitan Railway; all other electrified lines employing ordinary air brakes make use of motorman's valves with separate Running and Release positions, as in steam locomotive practice.

16. The features of the ordinary air brake to which I have drawn attention may be summarised as follows :-

(i) Application cannot be made with full force immediately after release.

(ii) Recharge of the auxiliary reservoirs is designedly rather slow.

(iii) The motorman cannot graduate the process of release; once started it must either be completed at a rate over which he has no control, or else interrupted by a subsequent application.

If the brake is handled with reasonable skill, the first of these features constitutes a disadvantage which is more apparent than real, for, in practice, the first of a series of service applications would be of such. duration as to cause a substantial reduction in the speed of a train ; the pressure in the auxiliary reservoirs immediately after release, though insufficient for a full power application, would nevertheless be adequate for immediate re-application having regard to the reduction in speed already effected. Improvements have however been made by the Westinghouse Brake and Saxby Signal Company in respect of the second' and third fsafures named, by an elaboration of the ordinary e uipment, in the form of the High Speed Brake and of the Electro Pneumatic Brake; I am indebted to that Company for their explanation and demonstration of the details of these two improved types.

17. The High Speed brake equipment incorporates a triple valve considerably more complicated than the ordinary type, and requires, on each vehicle, s decidedly bulky supplementary air reservoir. With it the process of release can be graduated, that is to say, it can be stopped at any point desired by the motorman by placing his brake valve in the Lap position; also, as soon as release commences air from the supplementary reservoir is allowed to enter the auxiliary reservoir, thus hastening the recharging process. As an instance of this, in tests on the equipment of a 12-car train I found that when a brake application which produced cylinder pressure of 50 lbs. per square inch was followed by release, the auxiliary reservoir on the twelfth vehicle was recharged to 65 lbs  pressure in: 9 1/3 seconds after release was initiated. The longer the train is, the more valuable, this expedited recharge of the auxiliary reservoirs becomes. When an emergency application is made, air from bath the auxiliary and the supplementary reservoirs is admitted to the brake cylinder providing there in a pressure higher by some 10 lbs. per square in& than would be obtainable for the auxiliary reservoir alone.

18. The electro-Pneumatic Brake, extensively employed on the London Underground system, introduces no alterations into the ordinary air brake equipment, but makes use of the supply of air at main reservoir pressure which is available on the vehicles of multiple unit electric stock. Admission of this air to the brake cylinders and its release therefrom is governed by electrically operated valves on each vehicle, these valves together with the ordinary brake equipment, being controlled by the motorman by movement of a single brake valve handle. In effect, the motorman has at his disposal a straight (i.e., non automatic) air brake fed from the main reservoir pipe and electrically controlled, as well as the ordinary automatic air brake, the properties of which are unaltered by the addition to it of the electrically operated valves. The response of these valves is, of course instantaneous, and independent of the length of the train.

In this connection the difference between the brake action needed on steam and on electric trains must be borne in mind. With.the former a substantial proportion of the total weight of the  train is represented by the locomotive, which, when running without steam exercises some retarding effect on account of the friction of its various moving parts. On an electric train, on the other hand, a considerable amount of energy is stored in the rotating armatures of the motors especially at high speeds on the 12-coach Southern Railway expresses the total weight of the, 16 armature exceeds 20 tons. Hence the feature of the electrically controlled straight air brake, whereby it can be graduated both in application and in release, as the motorman may wish, is of particular value, for it can be applied with full force when speed is high, and the momentum of the armatures is greatest, and gradually released as the speed falls. The automatic brake is always available in addition to the electrically controlled one; and inter locking apparatus is incorporated whereby any electrical fault in the brake control circuits produces an automatic application. 

I understand that it is found on the Underground system that the adoption of this pattern of equipment has resulted in stops being made with much greater precision that with the air brake alone with consequent saving of time in station work.

Tests with a 10-car set of this equipment at the Westinghouse works showed that the time which elapsed after operation of the motorman’s brake valve before a brake cylinder pressure of 45 lbs, was registered on the 10th car was from 3 to 4 1/2 seconds, using the electrically controlled valves. With the electrical details out of action the equipment being thus converted, in effect to the ordinary pneumatic pattern, the triple valves being actuated in the usual way by reduction of train pipe pressure, the corresponding times were from 6 3/5 to 7 seconds. In gentler service applications giving 25 lb. brake ,cylinder pressure similar gains of  about three seconds on the 10th car were noted, while with an emergency application the brake cylinder pressure on the 10th car. reached 45 lbs, in two seconds with the electrical values operating, and in from three to four seconds with them out of action.

Summary and Recommendations 

19. This report my be summarised as follows:-

(1) The collision with the buffer stops was due to errors of judgment in handling the brake on the part of motorman Coughtrey, resulting in it being temporarily inoperative on the three rear vehicles of the train immediately before the accident. This gave rise to a violent rebound of the three vehicles in question.

(2) The response of the ordinary Westinghouse brake equipment to the motorman's actions, while quicker than that of the vacuum brake, is far from being instantaneous. Consequently, more dexterous operation of the brake is needed on long trains trains on short ones; liberties which can be taken with it on the latter, without untoward results, may easily give rise to unevenness of braking on the former.

(3) No reasonable objection can be raised to the Company’s practice of transferring motormen from heavy expresses to short suburban trains and vice versa during the course of a day's work. But as this may lead to injudicious handling of the brake on the longer trains, through momentary forgetfulness on the motorman’s part, the need for deliberation in the manipulation of the brake valve on all occasions, on short as well as on long trains, should be impressed upon motormen.

(4) Two improved forms of Westinghouse brake equipment have been developed, namely, the High Speed Air Brake and the Electro- Pneumatic Brake. Both of these give to the motorman fuller control of brake action than he has with the ordinary Westinghouse equipment; in addition, the second possesses features rendering it specially suitable for use on multiple unit electric stock of which a very important one is that the response of the brake to the motorman’s actions is not affected by the length of the train. This simplifies the task of a motorman who has to change round frequently between trains differing in composition and length.

(5) While it is true that the 'qperatin conditions of an express service, with infrequent stops, differ from those on the London Underground, on which the Electro-Pneumatic Brake is understood to be giving excellent results, it appears, nevertheless, that in any type of service the added measure of control of the brakes afforded by these improved patterns of equipment must be valuable. I suggest, therefore, that the Company be asked to consider the experimental use of, at any rate one of these two forms of improved. brake equipment-preferably the Electro- Pneumatic-in order that it may be ascertained if the advantages described are realised in practice, and justify the expense involved, having regard to the various operating conditions of their electrified services.

Experiment of this nature on surface lines would appear to distinctly advantageous at the present time, in view of the possible extension of electrification.  

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